There is an old tale about some blind men who stumble upon an elephant. Of course, being blind, they do not realize just what they have stumbled upon. One, feeling the tale, believes this to be a rope. Another, feeling the enormous sides, believes this to be a wall of some sort. Yet, another feeling the trunk, believes this to be a snake. All of them are quite confident in their belief even though they are feeling the same creature. Some use this illustration to prove that we all worship the same god, our particular religions just happen to be feeling different parts of the same deity. However, this illustration would break down if one thing were to happen. What if the elephant spoke? What if he told us just what he was? Thus we see the importance of revelation. (1)
We know God only because he has revealed himself to us. God has revealed himself to us in many ways. First, God reveals himself through creation. Psalm 19:1 tells us the heavens above declare the glory of God in a language that all can see and understand. However, this in and of itself is not sufficient to know God on an intimate, saving basis. This can be interpreted subjectively and the fallen world we live in is incapable of giving us a full picture of God.
So, God spoke. II Timothy 3:16 and I Peter 1:21 tell us that God spoke to his people through his prophets to make himself and his will known. When the prophets of old spoke, they did so based upon the authority of God. “Thus says the Lord” is declaration of not only authority but of revelation. These prophets believed they spoke what God was telling them to speak. Since the time of Moses, God chose to speak through select men informing us of that which we would not know otherwise. This is how God revealed himself. Without this revelation man would be left to himself to figure out God which has only led to idol worship and paganism. God had to speak. Not only did God speak, but this speech was written down and recorded for all future generations in the Bible.
However, God’s greatest word to us is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1). Hebrews 1:1-4 states, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” We know the Father through the Son (John 14:6-11).
(1) Adapted from a sermon entitled, “Never Spoke a Man Like This Before: Inerrancy, Evangelism and Christ’s Unbreakable Bible” by Kevin DeYoung.